Book reviewing in the SFF community is an awesome gig. The books hitting our inboxes and post boxes in 2020 and 2021 just keep getting better and better. And as an SFF book reviewer, one of the major bonuses of the gig is getting access to these books months in advance–added bonus if you’re in the UK because those print hardcover advanced reader copies (ARCs) are fucking gorgeous.
Then, all you need is the time you spend reading the books anyway, an opinion on them, and to be able to put that opinion into a coherent 400+ word post.
So, assuming at this point you’re pretty keen on getting a glimpse into the world of reviewers, I asked our brilliant GdM team about what they focussed on when writing reviews.
Carrie Chi Lough
My friend’s passion for reviews influenced me to start writing them. Immediately, I noticed a difference. In writing a review, I take everything I felt about a book and turn them into concise words. I’ve noticed plenty of times, my thoughts about a book change once I sit down to write. It’s about gaining a deeper appreciation and understanding about what I’ve read. It’s hoping someone will read my review and become hyped to read the book themselves. Anymore, I don’t consider a book finished until after the review is written.
The key aspects for me are communicating how the book made me feel in a way that instantly makes a reader feel that they may connect with the story. It may be characters that are unique but relatable, plot lines that keep me up all night and force me to turn the next page, or settings that feel vivid and real. Writing reviews allows me to take my time when digesting what I’ve read and hopefully brings a larger audience to authors who deserve it thanks to their hard work and wonderful writing!
The first thing I tend to think of when reviewing is context. This is the book, the author, the date of publication, the place of the work within any series or franchise or genre landscape. “Here, dear reader, are the things you need to best approach this novel.”